Detective Michael Bailey, standing, goes over cold case file with Sgt.Michael Madden, head of the Pinellas County Sheriffąs Office homicide unit.
Cynthia Shauman was 46 at the time of her murder.
The murder victim owned a ring identical to the one above. Its value was set at about $30,000.
PINELLAS COUNTY – Cynthia “Cindy” Shauman loved the beach life of Indian Shores.
She was estranged from her husband, Kevin, who ran a farm in Oquawka, Ill., while she enjoyed the sun and surf.
Shauman was 46, attractive and wore fine jewelry that she also sold privately, at trade shows and through the Internet.
She lived alone in a second-story condo at 18840 Gulf Blvd. that contained a 6-foot high safe filled with expensive gems and gold.
On Feb. 28, 2003, she was found dead.
“There was no illegal entry into her apartment,” said Detective Michael Bailey of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office homicide unit, “but someone spent a long time trying to get into that safe.”
Shauman’s murder is one of 40 unsolved homicides dating back to 1955 when Henry Shelton, 56 at the time, was gunned down at 82nd Avenue and 28th Street in Pinellas Park over unpaid gambling debts.
The homicide unit investigates murders in unincorporated areas of the county and where the sheriff’s office is contracted to provide law enforcement. Pinellas Park today does its own murder investigations. That wasn’t the case in 1955 when Henry Shelton met his maker.
Headed by Sgt. Michael Madden, the homicide squad dates back to the 1970s and consists of nine people plus a retired Florida Department of Law Enforcement sleuth named John Haliday, who volunteers his time and expertise.
“Some homicides cannot be solved for any number of reasons,” Madden said. “Lack of physical evidence and witnesses are among them.”
Investigative techniques are more sophisticated today, and of course there is DNA.
DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic Acid, is used for everything from proving paternity to criminal investigations. In extreme cases, it has been used to clone animals.
DNA essentially “codes” the characteristics of a human body. The data is used to scientifically create an individual’s body, eyes and hair color. Thus, a single DNA can be matched with one of millions on file.
The Florida DNA Database was created in 1990 and is connected to the National DNA Index System. Florida has contributed more than a million DNA files to the national system operated by the FBI and other federal, state and local laboratories.
“State law mandates that DNA samples be taken from people involved in violent and other crimes, such as burglaries,” Madden said.
The theory is that most criminals have been burglars before moving to more serious illegal activities.
St. Petersburg-born Madden joined the sheriff’s office in 1986. He took over the homicide unit two years ago and has watched law enforcement technology advance to a laboratory science.
“It’s not like on television where cases are solved quickly,” Madden said. “A case, even with a confessed suspect, still can take up to two months of preparation.”
That’s why there is only 40 cold cases since 1955. From 1970 to 1980 there are 28 unsolved murders, and only nine since 1991 to the present.
One of the most sadistic killings occurred in 1972 when a woman’s decapitated body was washed up on Belleair Beach. She was between 40 and 50 years old and weighed roughly 120 pounds.
She has never been identified, though it was thought that Manatee County was her home. DNA, however, could not positively prove that.
There are two types of murders; premeditated or first degree and second degree, which is how most are classified.
“We never give up trying to solve these crimes,” Madden said. “We review cases often to seek possible new evidence that might have been overlooked.”
Corporal Thomas Klein attends monthly cold case meetings in Tampa where law officers and others from five surrounding counties examine files.
Not long ago, a Social Security Administration representative took interest in a 1981 murder. The victim’s number was engraved on his false teeth, but somewhere along the way the numbers were transposed. The SSA employee played with the numbers until he hit paydirt.
One unsolved case is currently under active investigation due to possible new evidence.
DNA and legwork helped close a cold case investigation with the arrest of Michael Dery, 31, who was serving time on an unrelated charge.
In October 2002 the body of Tamara Lank, 34, was found at Joe’s Creek in Lealman. Dery, who has no local roots, is currently awaiting trial, investigators said.
Sometimes a murderer fesses up. Jaime Winkles was doing life for kidnapping two women when he told prison authorities he wanted to confess to the unsolved murder of a Pinellas County dog groomer.
“There was no physical evidence and no way to connect him to the murder,” Madden said.
The suspect allegedly cut off his victim’s head and then removed the teeth to prevent positive identification.
“The skull was located in a north Florida river,” Madden said. “The suspect, who lived in Clearwater and Pinellas Park, is now on death row.”
There is no statute of limitations for murder.
“We’ll solve the crime, even if it takes decades,” Madden said.
New leads sought for woman's murder
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is looking for information about the 2003 murder of an Indian Shores woman.
Cynthia “Cindy” Shauman was 46 at the time of her death. She lived alone in a condo at 18840 Gulf Blvd., where she ran a jewelry business.
Her murder was discovered on Feb. 28, 2003, when her estranged husband, Kevin, 49, of Oquawka, Ill., called Florida police. He said his wife had not responded to his e-mails or phone calls.
Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies went to her condo. She was found dead.
“We are looking for anyone with information,” Detective Michael Bailey said.
Bailey released a photograph of a ring that is identical to another Shauman gave to a friend.
It is described as a three- to five-karat diamond set in gold. The estimated value is about $30,000.
“We've checked pawn shops and other areas where such a ring could be sold,” Bailey said. “This is a very unique piece of jewelry.”
It's thought that a dealer of stolen merchandise was probably used, rather than a pawn shop.
People with information about Shauman or the ring are urged to call the homicide unit at 582-6307.
Some victims in the cold case file
The following are among the victims who met untimely deaths. Their murderers have never been caught. The ages listed are at the time of their deaths.
• Cynthia Shauman, 46, of Indian Shores was found dead on Feb. 28, 2003. Robbery may have been a motive since someone attempted to break into a large safe containing jewelry.
• Marco Savalas Waters, 23, of Clearwater was shot to death on Feb. 26, 2001, during an apparent robbery.
• Francisco Javier Garcia-Almeida, 22, of Largo died on April 18, 1998, in a house fire ruled as arson.
• Arlene F. Guyton, 67, of Madeira Beach was murdered on July 17, 1997. Robbery appeared to be the motive.
• Gary Noordhoek, 38, of Largo was shot to death on June 28, 1996, in an apartment storage unit.
• Richard and Sally Smith, 50 and 35, respectively, of Clearwater were found Sept. 4, 1988, murdered in their home.
• John “Chains” Doe, about 35 to 45, no address, was discovered floating in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 29, 1988, off Clearwater. His body was wrapped in heavy chains.
• Eleanor Swift, 84, of Seminole was found dead on Feb. 13, 1987, in the bedroom of her home.
• Claudette Lacasse, 42, of Largo was found dead in her home on Aug. 19, 1985. There were signs of a struggle.
• John Oliver Briegel, 82, of Seminole was murdered on Dec. 8, 1984, in his home.
• Ginette Caron Kurtz, 48, of Madeira Beach on July 26, 1983, was found murdered in her apartment.
• Lorna May Bailey, 67, of Seminole apparently was abducted on Feb. 28, 1981, from the parking lot of Lake Seminole Hospital.
• Cynthia Marie Clements, 19, of Pinellas Park, on Oct. 14, 1980, apparently was abducted from a convenience store and murdered.
• Scott Sherman Smith, 32, of Pinellas Park, was murdered on May 18, 1980, in the living room of his home. It is thought to be a drug-related assassination.
• Thomas Lee Vanzant, 17, of Redington Beach died on July 21, 1974, of apparent head wounds.
• Jane Doe, between 40 and 50, on April 25, 1972, washed up on Belleair Beach. She was decapitated.
• Henry Shelton, 56, of Pinellas Park was murdered on Feb. 8, 1955, the result of a robbery or unpaid gambling debt dispute.
Further information on these and other victims is available at www.pcsoweb.com, then click on Unsolved Murders.